Manuka Honey Facts

We love our bees and find the world of honey making a fascinating and rewarding job!

Here are some of our favourite Manuka Honey facts:

1. Nectar from the Mānuka bush contains Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) which bees convert in their hives to methylglyoxal (MGO), a compound with antimicrobial properties.

2. Before scientists understood that MGO was the ‘secret’ ingredient in Manuka honey, the antibacterial and antimicrobial properties were referred to as NPA or non-peroxide activity (to differentiate it from the ‘peroxide’ activity they could detect, which is a series of anti-bacterial properties found in all honeys) or UMF which stood for Unique Manuka Factor.

3. Manuka flowers blossom in the (New Zealand) summer... while we’re shivering at home.

4. The New Zealand government is taking honey seriously to prevent people passing regular honey off as Mānuka and to ensure quality.

5. That’s why any product labelled as Mānuka honey exported from New Zealand must be lab-tested like ours.

6. Not all regions of New Zealand produce Manuka bushes that contain DHA – another reason why testing is really important.

7. There is no such thing as a Manuka bee – in fact, the bees aren’t even native to New Zealand. Hives are populated by your bog-standard European honey bee, brought over in 1839 as native bees were not suitable for honey production.

8. These bees will fly up to a mile from their colonies, so our hives are all placed in areas where mānuka bushes are abundant. Dave 'Sticky' Adams, the Head Beekeeper at Manuka Doctor, explains more about what beekeepers get up to.

9. The average beehive is a snuggly place where the temperature inside is around 35-40oC.

10. Don’t worry, you’re not stealing food. Healthy bees produce two to three times more honey than they need. Read more from Dr Megan Taylor, Manuka Doctor’s honey bee programme director, who explains more about the hive and making Mānuka honey.

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